Mar 28, 2006

15 Minutes of Fame

I have been very busy lately.  Last week I was working about 12 hours a day as the lead instructor for my state's Basic Sniper class.  Just like the last few years I have helped teach this class, the first day was filled with wide-eyed cops, eager to show what a great shot they were, so they could hang the "Sniper" certificate on the "I Love Me" wall at home. 

As is usually the case, there was an ex-military sniper in the group.  I hate having these guys in the class; because whenever I slip up and mis-speak during a class, they are always very quick to correct me and make me look bad.  I know, I know- I don't hate them, it is just that our military does a VERY good job of training these guys, and it is hard to get across that I have something new to teach them.  One thing, military snipers are taught very long range shooting; in police work, the ranges are relatively short.  The Army and Marine Snipers routinely shoot out to 1000 meters, where as police snipers practice at 50-300 yards.  It is easy for a very well trained military sniper to come into the training and look upon it with some contempt, because the ranges are so much shorter than they dealt with in the military. 

However, the difference is that a military sniper's job is to disrupt the enemy; a miss for them is often the same as not shooting, and if they hit their target, say, in the leg, they have accomplished their mission.  In the police realm, a sniper only shoots to save someone's life; if the police sniper misses- a hostage, an innocent bystander or a fellow officer will likely die.  There is no room for a miss in police sniping, never.  In fact, they may be called on to stop someone holding a gun to a hostage's head; the only way to prevent the suspect's trigger from being pulled is to completely shut down the suspect's central nervous system, i.e. a head shot. 

Oh boy... I did it again; I'm soap boxing, aren't I?

None of that was very funny, was it?  Sorry.

The funny thing that happened was this- the sniper class takes place on a military training base nearby.  Last Thursday afternoon, a van pulled up to the range and some military personnel stepped out.  I then noticed that one of them had a news-type camera and was taking video shots of everyone.  This would have been ok, except for that it was a break time, and there were about 5 cops urinating in the field.  One by one they noticed the camera and displayed a variety of reactions.  One guy shut down and zipped so fast, I hoped he had not hurt himself, three turned away shyly, and one just finished his business.  I admired the last guy's pluckiness, until he admitted that he just had not seen what was going on. 

Both of the military, uniformed people (I could now see the one with the camera was female) approached me and asked if I was the lead instructor.  I said I was, and they told me that they were from "The Armed Forces Television Network," and were filming an article about civilian usage of military bases.  They wanted a sound byte, so they hooked me up with a mike, pointed the camera at me and said, "Could you take your sunglasses and hat off?"  Of course I could, the better to see my face around the world!  A star in the making!  I quickly complied and did the interview, spouting platitudes about cooperation and thanks to the military, blah blah blah. 

After the interview, I went up to another instructor and told them proudly that I was going to be on television world wide.  He then laughed and said, "Yah, I'm sure the army is in dire need of a training film of the dangers of hat hair!" 

I looked at my hair in a car mirror nearby; I might as well have been a screen test for Bozo the clown.  I would have been less embarrassed to have been caught going potty.

Mar 10, 2006

Olympic Hurling

          Just as I was pulling up to a partner's traffic stop late one night, the driver of the stopped car jumped out and took off running.  Officer Rey, who had stopped the car,  being of the rookie sort, jumped out of his car and took off running after the sprinting kid. 

          Now myself, being a bit wiser (and not wanting to spill my coffee) placed my car in gear and drove after the running pair.  The chase wound through a local park; all I had to do was avoid the swing sets, merry-go-rounds and meth addicts sleeping on the grass.  After about 300 yards, both running man and Officer Rey had slowed to a pace that would not harm my bum knee (or ego), so I stopped the car, put my coffee down, and trudged after bad guy.  It was pretty easy; I fast-walked up behind him and gave him a slight nudge to the ground.  Officer Rey was right there, but as soon as the handcuffs were on, he walked away suddenly. 

          As I walked back to my car, the suspect started to throw up all over.  That's something they don't tell you about in the police employment brochures, having to hold some criminal's hair while he pukes.  Well, it turns out that this guy ran because he had just done a drive-by shooting; we found a gun in the passenger seat. 

          At the subsequent trial, the guy's defense was that he was far too drunk to have manipulated a handgun (don't laugh... I've heard sillier ones); and proof of that intoxication was my testimony that he threw up all over... ergo he was very drunk.  Officer Rey then leaned over with a sly smile and whispered something into the ear of the district attorney.  On cross examination, the DA asked me,

"Officer, was anyone else sick that evening?" 

My answer was,

"Yes, Officer Rey puked his guts up after the run as well" (which is why he made his quick exit, to find a suitable garbage can). 


Mar 8, 2006

Family Tree

          Let me share with you one of the funniest lines I have ever heard.  This line tickles me every time I recall it being spoken.  First, some background: a fellow police officer and I responded to a disturbance in one of the humbler parts of town.  This was the sort of neighborhood where cars on blocks and mangy hound dogs were everywhere; where I always expected to see Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty floating by on a canoe. 

          We arrived and saw a female, white shirt 2 sizes too small, with pink polyester highwater pants and no shoes, screaming about how her family was trying to kill her.  I did the best I could to calm her down, all she did was cuss me out and tell me that she hated "Pigs."  Judging how much pressure she was putting on those pink stretch pants and tee shirt, it was clear that she was not truthful, but actually loved pork products. 

          An old lady finally told her to get her rear end back in the house; which she and her rear eventually did.  The lady then came up to me and said (in that wonderful drawl that lets everyone know that she watches Nascar 24-7) that thing that makes me snicker even now:

"Officer, the trouble with her is, she's ma granddaughter AND ma niece!"

          I hope it made you laugh half as much as it did me.



Mar 7, 2006

Sort of a Murder

     Two cousins, both in their 40’s, both drug addicts, were living at mom’s house.  After a day of smoking pot and drinking beer, they started arguing over who was the biggest loser; and I don’t mean who lost the most weight. 

     The yelling consisted of such academic repertoire as,


“You’re the loser!”

“Shut up!” 

“You shut up!”  Obviously, Rhodes’ scholars. 

     One cousin, having had enough of the witty verbal jousting, rose from his pile of dirty laundry, staggered over to the other cousin, and punched him in the nose several times.  The injured cousin, who was also suffering from multiple health problems, including a failing liver and lung disease, bled so much mom decided to call 911- two days later.  An ambulance came and he was taken to the hospital.  Three days later the cousin died. 

      I first met dead cousin at the Coroner’s Office.  We were pretty sure one of the many health issues had finally caught up with the cousin; but because there had been an assault, we decided to autopsy him.  The pathologist was dubious that the death could be attributed to the assault, telling me as much as he made the first incision.  However, as soon as he sliced open the lungs, he called over to me,

“Hey look at this!” 

Doc then stuck a gob of very bloody goo under my nose.  I looked closely at the hunk of goo and gave him my very most intelligent-sounding,


He told me,

“I guess this makes me a Kerry flip-flopper.”  I had no idea what a lump of bloody lung had to do with politics or the then-democratic candidate for president.  Doc then explained that the goo was blood from the injury that had congealed in the lungs, because the lungs were too weak to expel the fluid. 

      The cousin was arrested and booked for Manslaughter, but the prosecuting attorney just about passed a gavel when he read how skinny our information was.  He released the cousin, having determined that there was no way he would be convicted of manslaughter.  I wasn’t upset... it was a long shot, but what can I do?  It then came to me- charge the cousin with Simple Assault!  I wrote up a ticket and booked the cousin on 4th Degree Assault, a misdemeanor crime. 

     I then presented the municipal prosecutor with the case, which was originally prepared as a murder case, having full transcripts, indexed reports, and complete forensic reports.  He looked at me as though I had handed him the Holy Grail, 

“If all my cases were prepared like this, we’d never lose!”  Don’t hold your breath, Mr. DA man, unlikely we will put 200 pages and 100 man-hours of work into some poor slob shoplifting a condom at the 7-11. 

     Well, I thought he deserved more for killing his sick cousin, but he got the maximum sentence for Municipal Court, 365 days.  I think he’s out now, back sitting on the same pile of dirty clothing. 

     For the life of me, I can’t think which cousin was the biggest loser.

Mar 3, 2006

Cheap government, Surfing and Dummies

I know you have not heard from me for awhile, but I have been very busy.  First of all, I’ve been busy at work.  A few days ago some lady called the PD and reported that when she was a young girl, about 20 years ago, she overheard her father confessing to her mother that he had just killed someone.  This was initially dismissed with a simple info report by the officer, and then assigned to me with an “I’m sure it’s nothing” comment from the Captain. 


Well, “nothing” turned into some very specific details of an unsolved murder from 1988.  The only good thing about it is- if the dad did kill this guy, we don’t have to go to court, because dad died of a heart attack last year.  This might seem to be solved quite neatly (if the guy did it), however this may lead to a very bad precedent for the District Attorneys Office; for instance, why pay all that money to have a trial to convict someone of murder?  They are going to die sooner or later, and according to the Uniform Crime Report, the death of the suspect is a clearance... that’s as good as an arrest!  Think of the money we can save!  In fact, everyone who is suspected of murder can be thought of as on Death Row, but just out on bail.  We just let God carry out the sentence.  When they die of, say, prostate cancer at age 87, the DA can make a big press release about how another murderer was brought to justice.  My idea makes near as much sense as most of the other decisions coming out of those three-ring circuses we call “Court rooms.” 


OK... deep breath, back off the soapbox...  I also went to Westport and got back on the surfboard.  Here I am at the “Groins,” hanging ten on my longboard.



I have no idea why it is called "The Groins;" perhaps "The Buttocks" was already taken.


While there I stopped in at “The Surf Shop,” and spoke to my old surf instructor Barry, who is still driving the very cool olive green Malibu convertible (I have to remember to get him a SWAT shirt).  I then noticed that there was a police car parked in the same spot during the three days I was in Westport.  I went to investigate, and found that it was a dummy in the car. 




No, no, no... I don’t mean to say that the officer was one round short of a full clip, I mean he was plastic.  In fact he looked like an old, wrinkled version of a Resusci-Annie.



I was told that this was the brain child of someone in city government who thought that it would save money. 


I better not  tell them of my “Death sentence” idea...


PS:  A link to the; you can see a live shot of where I surf.